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Perspectives: The Rape and Suicide of Cherelle Jovanna Locklear

Being Libertarian Perspectives will serve as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.

 Dillon Eliassen: On September 14th Vice.com ran a story that begins:

“On September 25, 2015, Cherelle Jovanna Locklear, a young, black student at William Paterson University, was allegedly raped at the school’s Sigma Pi Fraternity house during a party. She didn’t immediately report her rape to the school or the police, according to court documents; only after she attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on pills less than a month later, ending up in the hospital and subsequently in the office of campus Victim Services, did she tell an authority what happened. She opened up to Victim Services Coordinator Theresa A. Bivaletz about what she had been going through, but, according to a recently filed lawsuit by her mother, she still didn’t receive any help. The 21-year-old hanged herself on November 22, 2015.

Locklear’s mother, Marquesa C. Jackson-Locklear, is now suing William Paterson University, the fraternity, Bivaletz, and the officers she claims are involved in failing to properly investigate her daughter’s report of rape. The suit alleges that Locklear’s death could have been avoided if the institution moved with urgency after being aware of her claims instead of waiting to act.”

There are many aspects to this story.

The first thing that pops out at me is she waited two months to report the rape to WPU police, and the suit claims university police did not properly investigate the rape, by which time, unless there is documentation (digital, voice, video, photo) of the rape occurring, there wouldn’t be evidence the police could use to charge a suspect with since most likely any DNA evidence would not exist, or at best would be contaminated and unable to be used for an indictment.

Gary St. Fleur: Waiting two months to begin an investigation complicates matters no matter what the circumstances. Also, this situation is a confluence of failed policies that are a result of our society’s unwillingness to confront realities. First of all, treating adults like children lends itself to having problems occur where there is an expectation that some “authority” will step in to protect the quasi-adult. The university system is not a legal governing body and should not be expected to be equipped to handle police matters. University police are not police but a security team. Furthermore, the university has an incentive to quash any notions of rape occurring on their campus. In addition, the reason why frats are notorious for being breeding grounds for rape allegation is because of the absurd notion that 18 year olds should not be allowed to drink. Thus, they go to these frat parties to drink in secret. Now, we all know what happens when things become illegal and are thrust into darkness. Lastly, rape is a legal matter and should be handled by the police. Expecting a university to adjudicate on a legal matter is like expecting a corporation to police their staff.

Dillon: To clarify: William Paterson University has a police department, with actual police officers. But most likely, they do not have the ability to investigate rapes as well as a city police department which has better procedures and evidence handling protocol, as well as officers and victim advocates trained in sex crimes and who know how to help victims cope and prepare them for what can be a long slog through the justice system.

Alon Ganon: It’s hard to get facts straight so long after the fact as at that point it becomes a “he said/she said” scenario. In addition to the growing number of false rape claims from women who just regret what they did, it makes it extremely hard for those who were legitimately raped to get the assistance and help they need. Part of the problem is for some reason women feel a sense of shame as if they are at fault so they hide it. We as a people need to teach that the world is a bad place, you can do the right thing and still be treated badly. We also have to teach women there is no shame in getting the authorities’ assistance when such an evil thing happens. Look, if, God forbid, my girlfriend or any woman I know is raped, I would be urging them to get a rape kit ASAP. The police and the school were at fault as they didn’t respond and at least follow up in basic fact finding as well. So there is blame to go around to everyone on this one I believe. I feel sorry for the parents, but I am one of those who always thinks suicide is never the answer. I can understand she was mentally suffering, but I still don’t find suicide reasonable.

Dillon: It is made very difficult, if not impossible, for a rape victim to seek justice if she/he refuses to report the rape, or waits too long to do so. Thus, this victim’s mother is filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Does libertarianism provide any sort of guide for how we can help rape victims seek justice? Is there any way libertarianism could help? Other than mocking PC police and SJWs who have invented “rape culture” which further intimidates victims from coming forward. Is there any way we can use minarchy as a lens through which to revise how rapes are reported and prosecuted? I say minarchy because anarchy would add the burden of a victim seeking justice by also having to decide which private venue of justice and which private police force she wants to hire to seek justice through, and you’d be a fool to say that’s reasonable.

Martin van Staden: The law cannot come to the assistance of those who do not seek its assistance. The problem of people not reporting rapes cannot be solved in any system.

But we can start by not having silly things like ‘university police’ like the US has. The police is supposed to be an impartial force, not a body which is potentially in bed with university interests.

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